note that the trend among software companies is moving in the right direction. More and more companies are taking test seriously and recognizing its value. If you work for a company that treats testers as second-class employees, other opportunities are out there.
Your fate is in your own hands. Strive for individual excellence, recognize your importance to a project, celebrate the bugs that won't ship because of you and your team, and demand the continuing education you deserve. Respect your discipline and you will gain the respect that your discipline deserves.
Long live the professional tester!